Federico Borella scoops first prize in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

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The winners of the professional category of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards have been announced, with Federico Borella named as Photographer of the Year for his work on the plight of Indian farmers in the drought-hit region of Tamil Nadu.

A portrait of Karpule, a farmer from Tamil NaduImage source, Federico Borella
Image caption,
A portrait of Karpule, who once worked as farmer in Tamil Nadu, India. Now, he works on a construction site, and earns 400 rupees per day.
Image source, Federico Borella
Image caption,
Mallika stands in the middle of the field where her husband Pallicham killed himself in January 2017. Their crop was destroyed during a drought and the family got into debt.

Borella was awarded first place in the Documentary category for his project Five Degrees.

The work poses the question: Could the dramatic increase in the numbers of Indian farmers who take their own lives be closely connected to climate change and rising temperatures?

The series is located in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India, which faced the worst drought for 140 years in 2016-17.

Mike Trow, Chairman of the Professional Jury said: "Borella documented this with incredible sensitivity and imagination, and a direct aesthetic that we all agreed worked on a number of levels.

"The balance of stillness of the portraits, the clarity of the landscape and also the simple still lives of tool and skull all made a very modern yet unforced document that is terrifically human and vital without ever being over-emotive or manipulative."

Other winning photos documented public spaces, political events and sporting achievement. Here's a selection.

Image source, Stephan Zirwes
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Stephan Zirwes won first prize in the Architecture category for his project on public swimming pools in Germany.
Image source, Alessandro Grassani
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First place in the Sport category went to Alessandro Grassani for his series, Boxing Against Violence: The Female Boxers Of Goma. Here, Ester, 16 years old, is pictured on the streets of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is part of the Club Virunga, one of two official boxing clubs in the city.
Image source, Marinka Masséus
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A series by Marinka Masséus was awarded first place in the Creative category. It is part of Radical Beauty, an international photography project which aims to give people with Down syndrome a place in the visual arts.
Image source, Caimi / Piccinni
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Valentina Piccinni and Jean-Marc Caimi started collaborating in 2013 for projects focused both on documentary and more personal, intimate photography. They were awarded first place in the Discovery category for their project Güle Güle, which captured images of the city of Istanbul.
Image source, Yan Wang Preston
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First prize in the Landscape category went to Yan Wang Preston. The series depicts the other-worldly "ecology recovery" landscape in Haidong Development Zone in Dali, Yunnan Province, China.
Image source, Jasper Doest
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Natural World & Wildlife was won by Jasper Doest, whose project focuses on Bob, a Caribbean flamingo from the Dutch island of Curaçao. Bob's life took a dramatic turn when he flew into a hotel window, leaving him severely concussed. He was cared for by Odette Doest, a local vet who also runs a wildlife rehabilitation centre and conservation charity.

Image source, Álvaro Laiz
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Álvaro Laiz won the Portraiture prize for a series of black and white images of members of The Chukchi, an indigenous community who inhabit the Chukchi Peninsula, on the Russian side of the Bering Strait.
Image source, Nicolas Gaspardel
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Nicolas Gaspardel and Pauline Baert were awarded first prize in the Still Life category for a project entitled Yuck.
Image source, Rebecca Fertinel
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Rebecca Fertinel's work, Ubuntu - I Am Because We Are, looks at the Congolese community in Belgium. It was awarded first place in the Brief category.

All photos courtesy of 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.